Studies in 1 Peter 2019
1 Peter has much to say to a Christian community feeling the weight of living as outsiders, exiles and strangers in culture and society. The church as the people of God have and will always be a counter-cultural community, and historically have always lived on the margins of society and culture. How do we navigate life as God's people in a culture that's hostile to the Christian faith and way of life? How do we respond when we're unfairly treated as God's people?
Who's Responsible For My Growth At Church?
Who’s responsible for MY growth as a Christian at church? It’s a great question and sometimes it’s driven by the common misconception that the church needs to cater for ‘my’ growth as a Christian. So unless I’m getting something out of the preaching (it’s too long), or unless the worship moves me (it’s not very exciting), or unless I have friends (I haven’t got any close relationships), or unless there’s programs that meet my needs and my children’s needs, this church is not catering for my growth as a Christian! Can I say to you that to make your growth as a Christian solely dependent on your Sunday’s at church is not only a mistake, but far from what the Bible teaches. In fact, I would go as far as saying that it’s foolishness.
God's Amazing Grace For The Undeserving
Sometimes we think that God operates on the principle of our performance. Getting right with God or securing God’s approval depends on our work and our effort. Let me say to you that the Bible never teaches that. You cannot earn your way into his family and you cannot work your way into his good books. God doesn’t work on a performance scale where he judges you on the basis of whether your good works in life outweighs your bad works. God actually works on the principle of grace i.e. he gives us what we don’t deserve.
The Welcoming Work Of The Gospel Makes Us A Welcoming People
If we’re a community gathered together by the ‘welcoming’ work of the gospel through Jesus, then it shouldn’t be a surprise that God’s people would also be a ‘welcoming’ people i.e. a people who welcome all who visit our church community and a people who are actively seeking out those who would not normally be welcomed. The work of welcoming the newcomer isn’t the work of the welcoming team or those with the gifts of welcoming, it’s actually the work of all believers in a church community who have experienced the ‘welcoming’ work of the gospel (2 Cor.8:9)
The Disruption Change Brings
Change is often painful because it disrupts our comfortable normality. Change can also sometimes brings out the worst in us because change can makes us resentful and angry. The fact that we are subject to seasons in life that we don’t always choose or want is actually a reminder to us that we need a firm and secure anchor. Navigating the changes you face with courage, joy and godliness is only as good as the place you’ve anchored in life.
Compassion Christmas Collection 2019
This year our Christmas Day collection will be going towards the work of Compassion’s critical intervention program. We'll be helping fund recovery assistance to support an Income Generation project following the Mayon volcano eruption in Albay, the Bihol province of the Philippines. Our giving will help create long-term, sustainable impact for 302 Compassion assisted children, their families and communities. All giving is tax-deductible and donation forms will be available on Christmas Day.
The Power To Love & Serve In A Church Community
The power to love and serve others in a church community is actually grounded in the power of a greater love that we’ve first experienced. We read in 1 John 3:16 - This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. Christian people love and serve because they’ve been loved first.
Cultivating God-centered Loves
Our sermon last Sunday on 1 John 2:12-17 (The Collision of Loves) reminded us that Christian discipleship is not just about knowing God; significantly, it is also about loving God. Like any sort of love, our love for God needs to be carefully cultivated. Following our sermon, it would be worth committing some intentionality into recalibrating the unconscious, reorienting our hearts, and relearning our habits.
An Unchanging Mission & Vision
Over the last 19 years at GracePoint we’ve had many challenges and changes. And the challenges and changes we've experienced as a church isn’t that unusual given that we’ve grown from a church of 30 people to four congregations across GracePoint. However there are some things that will remain unchanged as we move forward. We've always been committed to growing God's people to reach God's word for God's glory. And it's a mission grounded in God's very own strategy for his church i.e. equipping the saints for ministry and maturity to engage the world in mission with the gospel for God's glory and praise!